N° 155 — June 21, 2023

Enjoy regular updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and our award-winning Washington Youth Garden.

Spring School Gardens

This school year, our Educator Coaching Program (ECP) partnered with teams of educators from 11 DC schools. This program is part of our larger School Garden Support Program, and offers flexible support to better integrate school gardens into curricula and day-to-day school community life. Depending on each school’s individual goals, FONA supports them by developing planting and garden maintenance plans, co-teaching lessons, organizing produce distributions, supporting events with taste tests, and more.

Families select vegetables to take home during a produce distribution at KIPP Webb.

School gardens are great hands-on tools to teach young people about health and wellness. One of Allie Arnold’s favorite moments this spring as a School Garden Program Manager was getting to have a conversation with 3rd graders about how gardening is not only good for their physical health, but also their mental health. After Allie explained some of the benefits of touching soil, one student exclaimed, “I’m going to put my hands in the dirt so I can live longer!” While some of these students might have been hesitant to get their hands dirty before FONA’s programs, Allie noted they now ask their teacher if they can water the plants and check on the garden all the time.

For ECP to be effective, it takes an immense amount of organization and energy from our team to coordinate between all the schools and meet as many of their needs as possible. Our team found it particularly challenging to balance not only their own capacity, but also that of the educators they work with. Despite everyone looking forward to a well-deserved summer break, Ashley Rattanawan, a School Garden Program Manager, was excited to see some partner schools already starting to plan and grow vegetables for next school year.

Ashley and Allie, our School Garden Program Managers, prepare for a taste test with students.

Demeter Returns

The sculpture of Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest and agriculture, has returned to her pedestal outside of Arbor House. This statue was created by John Cavanaugh, a 20th century sculptor based in Washington, DC who specialized in lead art. The National Capital Area Federation of Garden Clubs dedicated the sculpture in 1986 in honor of Kay Lahr, who the Lahr Symposium is named after. Kay was a dedicated Arboretum supporter.

The statue was removed about two years ago for cleaning and patina restoration. The John Cavanaugh Foundation donated their services to complete this restoration. See Demeter for yourself during your next walk through the Friendship Garden.

Emilia's Garden Tips

Wondering what to plant in your garden this summer, but don't have a lot of time actually garden? Emilia Kawashima, our Garden Co-Manager, shares her gardening tips for keeping a low-maintenance garden over the summer. While these tips are geared towards school gardens that do not receive regular maintenance during summer break, they are also applicable to home gardens. Check out Emilia's tips so you don't miss out on flowers and vegetables during summer travel.

Read Emilia's Summer Gardening Tips >

A FONA member recently used their membership card to receive free admission to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and visit the Giant Trolls.

Reciprocal Admissions

Planning a trip out of town this summer? FONA members get reciprocal admissions and discounts at over 345 gardens and arboreta across the country. This is a member benefit through the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Admissions Program.

Whether it's free admission, discounted programs, or free parking, the benefits of being a FONA member extend beyond the National Arboretum. Unlock this member benefit by becoming a FONA member or renewing your membership today.

See the List of Participating Gardens >

Upcoming Events

Poetry Slam in the Garden

August 5, 6:30 PM - 9 PM

Youth poetry competition

Details & Registration Coming Soon

Dinner Under the Stars

September 19, 5:30 PM - 9 PM

Cocktails & tented dinner in the Meadow

Purchase a Ticket or Table >

Fall Festival

September 30

Bulb sale, local vendors, family activities

Details Coming Soon!

Forest Bathing Walks

Various dates and times

Meditation and mindfulness

Upcoming Dates & Registration >

Yoga in the Grove

Saturdays at 10 AM

Find your flow with Bluebird Sky Yoga

Registration >

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM except December 25th.

Check Our Website for Full Details >

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Friends of the National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
FONA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization with the mission to preserve and enhance a vibrant public space and support experiential programming that instills a love of plants, nature and the outdoors in all who visit, while promoting the overarching research and education mission of the U.S. National Arboretum.

Since its inception, FONA has helped support the Washington Youth Garden, Capitol Columns, Flowering Tree Walk, horticultural and research internships, restoration of Springhouse Run, and much more.

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